In the third quarter of this year, the global notebook PC market grew 10 percent year over year, to reach 49.4 million units, according to a report from IHS DisplaySearch.
Global shipments of tablet PCs, by comparison, fell 8 percent, while notebook PC growth was primarily driven by the developed regions of North America and Western Europe, which increased year-over-year shipments by more than 20 percent in the third quarter.
Chromebooks are forecast to reach 5 percent (8 million units) of total global notebook PC shipments by the end of this year; however, if 2015 demand reaches the 20 million units planned by PC brands and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), it is possible that the Chromebook share would rise to 12 percent.
"A lower total cost of ownership and the fact that they are very easy to work with and access the Web with are some reasons Chromebooks are becoming more popular," Hisakazu Torii, vice president of Japanese TV market research at DisplaySearch, told eWEEK. "Of course, the PC prices are low and there is a volume discount for commercial organizations and schools, and they offer easier management by corporate IT teams."
The top five notebook PC brands collectively grew 23 percent in the third quarter of 2014, reaching 69 percent of total notebook units shipped.
With strong sales in North America and Western Europe, the Lenovo Group and HP continued to lead the market, with shares of 20 percent and 19 percent, respectively.
Lenovo Group led unit share in Western Europe and China, while HP took the leading position in North America, Eastern Europe and rest of the world. Year-over-year shipments of Apple’s iPad declined 13 percent, although Apple still ranked fifth globally, mainly due to increasing market share in North America.
Torii noted it is very difficult to say now what tablet markets are going to do to sustain growth considering the tablet boom is over.
"Tablet PC brands are now offering low prices only. This is not good," he said. "They need to improve the usage and applications that tablet PCs can offer in order to compete with notebooks."
He also noted price is very important not only for emerging regions but also for developed regions such as the United States.
"Plus, as I wrote, fierce price competitions are there among low priced NBPC, Chromebook and tablet PCs," he said. "In emerging regions, there is another competition in the form of larger smartphones taking market share away from tablets."
Although low-cost tablet vendors are moving a lot of volume, top vendors like Apple, continue to rake in healthy profits, an October report from IT research firm IDC found.
The worldwide tablet grew 11.5 percent year over year in the third quarter of 2014 with shipments reaching 53.8 million, with Apple maintaining its lead in the worldwide tablet market, shipping 12.3 million units in the third quarter.
Samsung held its No. 2 position on the market with 9.9 million units shipped, capturing an 18.3 percent market share in the third quarter.